THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Gov’t agencies partner for the establishment of Coco Centers

Author: DA Communications Group | 14 February 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) extends its full support for the establishment of an agribusiness one-stop-shop called “Malasakit sa Magniniyog: Coco Center,” following the signing of an inter-agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and UCPB-CIFF Finance and Development Corp. (COCOFINANCE) and UCPB-CIFF FOUNDATION, INC. President and CEO Rehan Balt Lao signed the MOU on February 13 at the Office of the Secretary in Quezon City.

Under the MOU, a Coco Center will be established in each 67coconut provinces of the country, starting with the Mindanao regions. This year, Lao said that the company targets to finish at least 30 percent of Coco Centers.

The Coco Center will serve as a central location where assistance from partner agencies may be channeled to small coconut growers. It will also serve as a touchpoint for investors to directly link up with coco groups for the supply of finished products, raw materials and labor for coconut-related enterprises.

Ultimately, the cooperation aims to uplift the living condition of small coconut farmers particularly those who are considered among the poorest in the agricultural sector “Ang goal natin ay pakitain ang ating mga farmers at hindi iyong mga middlemen at traders na nananamantala,” Dar said.

The Secretary underscored the importance of institutionalizing farmers’ cooperatives and stressed that it is time to elevate coconut farmers.

Aside from this, Dar said that it is high time to professionalize farmers’ cooperative, which will not only focus on productivity but will also carry out value-adding and marketing activities.

The MOU was also signed by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Coconut Industry Investment Fund – Oil Mills Group (CIFF OMG), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)

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